Keeping safe from abuse

Recognising abuse

Abuse is a crime.

Abuse is any act or neglect that harms another person. It can also be something that happens just once or something repeated many times

It is also abuse if it is done either:

  • intentionally to cause harm
  • accidentally through a lack of understanding

Different types of abuse

The different types of abuse include:

  • domestic abuse and violence – such as controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members
  • physical abuse – such as hitting, slapping, punching, injury inflicted deliberately or through lack of care
  • sexual abuse – such as the direct or indirect involvement in sexual activity without consent or with pressured or induced consent
  • psychological and emotional abuse – such as verbal abuse, threats or intimidation, isolation, persistent emotional ill treatment
  • financial and material abuse – such as theft, fraud, exploitation, pressure in connection with wills or inheritance or financial transactions
  • modern slavery – such as human trafficking, forced labour, sexual exploitation, domestic servitude or being forced to work to pay-off debts
  • discriminatory abuse – such as racist or sexist remarks or comments, or actions deliberately targeted because of a persons impairment, disability, age, illness or sexual orientation
  • organisational abuse – the ongoing failure of an organisation that negatively affects the quality of care given
  • neglect and acts of omission – such as failing to meet a vulnerable persons basic needs which causes serious harm
  • self-neglect and hoarding – such as neglecting diet, medication needs, personal hygiene and keeping a safe, clean home